Thursday, October 30, 2008

Tuna Boat

I’m driving to the grocery store and suddenly I see something that makes me gush with overwhelming warmth and nostalgia. There she is – sitting under a large willow tree, the branches framing her in a perfect portrait.

I sigh. A slight hum of satisfaction escapes.

“There she is,” I say to the Whiffen child sitting in the back seat.

“What? Who, Mom?” the Whiffen child asks looking around.

“Tuna boat.” I Pause. “That’s her.” I say as if I’m in some sort of trance.

“Huh? I don’t see anybody. Whoa, Mom, why are you pulling over?” the Whiffen child says getting out of his seatbelt.

“For a photo.” I say with wispiness in my voice that’s almost haunting.

“Of who?”

“Her.” I say pointing to this.

The sun peeks through the shadows causing them to dance over the 1972 Buick LeSabre dressed in metallic Hershey bar paint with a hint of olive green. She is even longer than I remember. But just as homely and Austin Power-like.

I instantly recall the time I was 16 years old Tuna and I were speeding down a country road in Samaria, Idaho to meet my friends at the Dude Ranch. There was no moon and certainly no streetlights, only the faint sound of bellowing cattle in the black of night. I clicked on my bright lights so I didn’t accidentally hit one of those cows, and suddenly all the lights went off! I clicked again. Nothing! By the fourth click and near hyperventilation, all the lights finally came back on.

Like my shabby, but favorite bra, Tuna's always been there for me. Never letting me down. Her front passenger seat was a legend in the small town of Malad, and even smaller town of Samaria. An unsuspecting person riding in the passenger seat may have found it disturbing that the seat slid forward launching them into the windshield whenever we would come to an abrupt stop. But not my high school friends. Kids by the dozens started requesting front seat rides. We would start at the top of the hill and barrel down the rollercoaster back country road. Then, without warning, I would slam on my brakes, and everyone piled into the passenger side of the front seat was thrown with G-strength force into the windshield, their faces pressed against the glass in dramatic expressions. Boisterous laughing filled the car and steamed the windows.

All those tender memories are because of her.

“Mom, that’s a piece of crap!” says the Whiffen child, interrupting my pristine thoughts and even the dramatic music going through my head - Journey's "Wheel in the Sky"

“Get in the car! I need a minute by myself.” I wave him off.

He trudges back to the car. “Geez, Mom. That’s kinda weird.”

“Probably.” I mumble.

I pull out my iPhone and take a picture that I can carry with me always and share with everyone I know.

Because something as special as Tuna should only be remembered - forever.

Monday, October 20, 2008


Last year I was asked to give a presentation at an autism council meeting. I was worried about what I was going to say, how it might be perceived, and whether or not I should have had my bangs cut with the trim and highlight the day before. That morning, as I went to pick out a blouse to wear, I made sure to choose one that wouldn’t show sweat rings under the armpits. Because even when I wear Sean’s deodorant, I get nervous, nervous tells my sweat glands there’s a fire somewhere - usually under the armpits, and, well, it turns on the high pressure water valve.

I’m always obsessively careful to keep my arms close to my body when presenting, but once in awhile, if I need to refer to something on the screen, or if I get excited when I talk, my arms might fly up like they’ve come unhinged. I usually slap them back down to my sides biting my lip as I wonder who may have seen my sweaty pits. Sometimes if I’m really nervous, I might even ask if anyone happened to see.

The morning of the presentation, I finally find the perfect sweat-camouflaging blouse. I grab my materials and dash out the front door. Jammed in early morning traffic on northbound 1-15 into Salt Lake City, I immediately regret spending 15 minutes conceding to Bobby Banjo’s* pleas to help him find “the guy with the sword,” and “the purple crystal” and “two more red pieces that look just like this” in the lego box that contains 100,000 micro pieces.

Suddenly, I’m hit with the thought that I might be late. Nervous tells my sweat glands there’s a fire under my armpits. And once I realize I forgot to put on my deodorant, Nervous tells my sweat glands under my armpits that it’s a THREE ALARM FIRE! Nervous also turns on other sprinklers in other places where I didn’t even realize I had sprinklers.

As I fly into the meeting I absolutely wish I hadn’t gulped down a slim fast chocolate shake for breakfast because it really didn’t taste that good anyway, and now I have to make an emergency restroom visit. I slide into the closest stall, and I fumble with my binder wondering why they refuse to install shelves on the stall walls. I gently balance my binder on the top of the toilet paper holder then fumble with my safety pin that keeps the zipper up on my favorite pants. My elbow flies up and hits my binder knocking two of my papers into the toilet. Before I can say &@#! the automatic flusher does it’s job and whoosh that’s it! Nervous tells my sweat glands forget the three-alarm fire, it’s a FIRE STORM! Send all the trucks and hook ‘em up! Full pressure and sirens!

I manage to make my way out of the restroom and up to the podium just in time. My armpits are stuck to my sides. I’m careful not to get excited, and I deliver my presentation as planned.

On the drive home I can’t help but laugh at a situation I should never have been in. In worrying so much about my sweaty armpits, I forgot the single most helpful thing to prevent it!

How often in life when in pursuit of something, do we worry so much about the end result, we actually forget to take those steps to get there!

I’ve been worrying lately about whether I should or shouldn’t do it. And I can’t tell you what “it” is because you already know silly things like my husband replaced the hubcap on our hooptie when we really should have gotten the neon lights and hydraulics instead. But when a friend quotes Wayne Gretzky, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take," I know what it is I have to do.

I’m now going to go put on my super strength deodorant and go for it.

*If you’re wondering, who is Bobby Banjo, please refer to post “Bobby Banjo Strikes a Chord.”

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Hooptie Dooptie had a great fall

This past week Sean was in Texas and then Tennessee, so we meet for lunch on Thursday at Chili’s to reconnect. At the end of our mid-day tryst we walk out to the car and I say, “Hey, by the way, did you know your car stereo isn’t

Sean says, “Yeah, remember when the boys left the door open the other day, well, the battery ran out and I had to jump it. The stereo is disabled every time jump the car – some sort of anti-theft thing. I’ll get the code to fix it when I go buy the new hubcap.

“Hubcap?” I ask. “What? Do we really need to replace the hubcap, I mean look at it!”

“Look at what?” he says innocently, as if he truly had no idea what I was talking about.

We stood in silence studying the gold 2000 Mitsubishi Galant with 110,000 miles to boast. The paint is peeling off the front bumper and hood like an acute case of automobile leprosy. My eyes scan to the back where there's a dent the size of Hillary Clinton’s head in the trunk.

“You’re really going to buy another hubcap?” I ask.

“Well, yeah, I don’t want to be driving a hooptie around.” He says.


“Sean,” I said ducking into the car. Come closer.

He leans in.

I pull his head toward me and whisper in his ear, “I’m really sorry I have drop this on you. But, it already IS a hooptie.”

He pulls away like I just sucker punched him.

“It IS not!” he insists.

“Sean, just throw a pair of curb feelers on her and you’re driving the hooptie of the year.”

“No way. NO. I can’t believe you’re even saying that!” he says shaking his head while eyeing her longingly like the daughter we’ll never have.

“I know it must be hard for you to say it out loud. But…”

He still looks hurt.

“It’s not!” he shouts as I roll up my window. I mime through the window, can’t hear you, sorry! I kiss the window, then flash him the “I love you” sign and drive off.

Do you buy the hubcap and keep it a half-hooptie, or do you wait until a door falls off and get hydraulics and neon lights installed?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Advance Reader Copies are in!

I just got my ARC copies and have to buckle down and read, read, read. And obsess, obsess, obsess. So I have to take a little break from the silly stories so I can focus on this project. I'll keep posting as often as possible. So please keep reading!

Thanks for all your supportive comments!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Daily dose of chocolate

I'm a huge Tina Fey fan. And It doesn't matter which party you're affiliated with, the barriers come crashing down with gut-wrenching laughter in this SNL skit. It will provoke all kinds of endorphins to get your motor started on an otherwise mundane Monday morning.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Zip Your Lips

Yesterday I said to a certain Whiffen child, “Will you please zip your lips?” and the Whiffen child said, “Okay, but you go first.” So that is why I keep notes like this one, along with his infant photo, taped on my mirror. It helps me remember his goodness so I can avoid that frequent, overwhelming feeling of wanting to hang him up on the towel hook by his underwear.

And yes, we are aware that grammar is a must if he aspires to be my publicist...